Can you burn tea? (3 Helpful Tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you burn tea? We will discuss how you can prevent your tea from getting burnt and how to make a perfect cup of tea. We will also discuss the variations in green, white, grey, and black tea.

Can you burn tea?

You can burn tea. If you boil the tea for too long, you run the risk of burning and ruining your tea.

Tea is sensitive to high temperatures; let it be white, green, oolong, or even black tea. 

Lighter versions of tea are more sensitive to high heat. White tea, for example, can become extremely bitter, strong, and sometimes even charred if you pour boiling hot water into it. 

What makes burnt tea taste bitter?

Hot water causes compounds from tea to steep out into the water. The hotter the water, the faster the compounds are released into the drink. 

One of the compounds called tannins contributes to the bitterness of the tea. Consequently, as tannins proceed to make their way into the hot water, it causes the tea to take on the burnt taste. It also causes the tea to contain high levels of caffeine as well.

How to brew the perfect cup of tea?

Different varieties of tea need to be brewed for varying amounts of time. The steeping time varies for each green, white, grey, or black tea. The darker the tea, the higher the temperature you need to brew it. 

 Let us discuss the steeping time required for each tea variety;

  • To make white tea, you need water between 158 to 167 Fahrenheit and let it steep for 2 to 6 minutes.
  • To make green tea, you need water between 167 to 176 Fahrenheit and let it steep for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • To make oolong tea, you need water between 185 to 206 Fahrenheit and let it steep for a minute.
  • To make black tea, you need water between 195 to 212 Fahrenheit and let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

You can use a timer or watch to keep track of the steeping time of tea and also use a thermometer to keep track of the temperature to prevent your tea from getting burnt. 

Why is it least likely for you to burn black tea?

While other types of tea are more susceptible to a higher temperature, you run as much of a risk of burning black tea. Black tea is the most oxidized tea among the other varieties and the easiest to brew. 

Green tea, black tea, and Oolong tea are all extracted from Camellia sinensis leaves but unlike them, green tea is not oxidized to any degree.

Black and grey tea are fermented, hence, owing to the dark color. Green tea and white tea are not fermented therefore they retain a light color. The lesser the fermented tea is, the healthier it is. 

The leaves are left to dry in sunlight until they wither. The leaves are dried and then start to ferment which takes around four to seven days. 

Black tea already being oxidized becomes tolerant to high temperatures. Hence, it is the hardest to burn black tea. It also takes the longest for the oxidized compounds to brew into a good cup of black tea.

However, it is worth noting that any tea can be burnt if it is heated for too long. Even though black tea does not have a delicate leaf, hot water can over-extract the compounds and cause bitterness.

On the other side, if you scorch the tea leaves you might be able to make the most out of your tea. Overboiled tea does not only have tannins but it releases more caffeine and L-theanine as well.

 A higher caffeine content means you get a higher stimulating effect for the same amount of coffee.

Moreover,  L-theanine compounds in tea have a calming effect. Hence, a strong cup of tea makes a good tonic that is rich in beneficial compounds.

Let us look at the steps needed to make a nice cup of tea;

  1. Heat water to a temperature below the boiling point or let it cool down if you boil it.
  2. Have the teabag or tea leaves ready and pour the hot water over them.
  3. Let the tea steep for the appropriate length of time; 4 minutes for black tea and 2-3 minutes for the lighter versions.
  4. Take the tea leaves out and discard them.
  5. Add sugar and milk if you prefer.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you burn tea? We discussed how you can prevent your tea from getting burnt and how to make a perfect cup of tea. We also discussed the variations in green, white, grey, and black tea.

Citations

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.